Sojourner, So to Speak is a collection of disarming poems by an Asturian-American which speak like map ponderings along the route of blue highways. His slightly estranged journey follows neighborhood streets to downtown hotels and interstates toward a zen that is not Zen, but a muse found by singing in a lawnchair in a backyard in Las Cruces. Events of daily life get recorded from a still center amidst the flux of our vida loca. It has been said that the Spanish poet Antonio Machado perfected his poetry on long walks and patiosthe inner world found in the outer experience through the art of seeing. Joe Somozas poems opens us up, as well, from similar encounters or, like classic Chinese poets such as Tao Chien or Tu-Fu, in domestic observance are the quiet profundities which cause even dust to glow. With lively and honest eloquence, Somoza directly invites readers to engage as participants in sly witness to the paths around us. Using spare language precise in construction, the agile wit of these poems converses with the reader by glimpse and sagacity.
Joseph Somoza was born
in Asturias, northern Spain, grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey; Chicago;
and Cincinnati. He studied at the Writers Workshop, University of Iowa,
after having discovered contemporary literature by reading On The
Road his freshman year of pre-med at Loyola University. He taught
English and creative writing classes in Texas, Puerto Rico, and at New
Mexico State University, from where he recently retired after twenty-two
years. While at NMSU, he helped to resuscitate the literary magazine
Puerto del Sol and was one of its poetry editors for fourteen years.
Besides Sojourner, So To Speak, he has published five books and
chapbooks of poetry, including Out Of This World (Cinco Puntos
Press, 1990), has published poems in 90 or so magazines and anthologies,
and has done readings of his poems in more than one hundred venues across
the country, including at Codys (Berkeley), The Ear Inn (New York),
The Green Mill (Chicago), and The Living Batch Bookstore (Albuquerque).
He has been married happily to Jill Somoza, a painter, for 34 years.
They have three children who grew up in the same, plain house with a
magnificent back yard where the couple continue to live and work on